At 80 Ralph Winter saw a trend, a trend he comments on below. While humanitarian relief is essential to minister to the body and demonstrate the love of God, we need to meet the spiritual issues of the world head on, we need to plant new churches and help the church around the world through teaching teachers and training trainers for the great commission…
I am all about helping people be generous, and working towards the greater good in a way that points to our ultimate good in God. I have worked hard to mobilize service and donations for many causes that people can support regardless of what they believe. But the question does bother me, who will support this work of making disciples around the world, even if it is not currently the thing that everyone is excited to give too?
My understanding of the great missionary passage in Psalm 67, is that the prayer of God’s people for the nations is that God would bless us, and cause his face to shine upon us, so that His name would be known throughout all the world. If God has made us rich in this world (ie.. if you make more than $5,000 a year you are rich / in the top 15%) and if God has caused us to know His grace in Jesus and spared us from spiritual lostness. We are called to do something to see that the world will hear about the cosmic, culture transcending love of God in the face of Christ.
“The last two Mission Handbooks (about five years apart) indicate that church planting missions have grown 2.7% but that relief and development missions have grown 75%. This is 27 times as fast a growth, when the latter were already bigger! If this is not a trend worth analyzing and critiquing I don’t know what is. And that is what I am trying to do. Let’s not close our eyes. It is not entirely a good trend and could become far worse.” (Ralph Winter)
Sills, M. David, “Reaching and Teaching: A Call to Great Commission Obedience”
Ralph Winter was one of our greatest mobilizers of world missions.. Read about him here. With two-thirds of the world not identifying as christians and some 5,500 people groups without a church, and many without even access to a bible in their language, surely there is something we all can do to be apart of fulfilling. The last request Jesus gave his disciples before ascending to heaven, to go and preach the good news of God’s love and to make disciples of all the peoples of the earth.